Facebook Launches Messenger Kids For Children Below 13 With Parental Control

Facebook Messenger Kids

Messenger Kids offers an opportunity to introduce children to the wider Facebook ecosystem, fending off advances from rivals targeting children and teenagers, while locking parents and family into the social network to communicate with their children. The app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Kids don't get a separate Facebook or Messenger account; rather, it's an extension of a parent's account. And approved adults can chat with the child using regular Messenger.

But Facebook says parents have complete control of the app, through their own accounts, from which they must approve all of their children's contacts before kids can begin chatting.

"[Messenger Kids] doesn't overcome the issues of screen time and screen use and all the other issues that go with technology and kids", Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, told The Post. "These are simple questions that parents need answers to before they sign their kids up", said James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that promotes online safety for children, in a statement.

Messenger Kids is full of engaging and interactive features for kids to connect with the people they love. And, a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools lets them decorate their content and express their personalities. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.

Like any business, Facebook's goals shouldn't be viewed as entirely altruistic, even if Messenger Kids is free to download and use.

The Internet can be a scary, unsafe place for children, even when parents go to great lengths to control what content, videos, apps and games their offsprings are allowed to access on specially designed tablets and wearable devices. She said: "The risk of exposure to things [children] were not developmentally prepared for is huge".

At this time, Messenger Kids will be available in the App Store for iPad, iPod touch and iPhone devices for those in the United States, and will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.

Authenticate: Then, authenticate your child's device using your own Facebook username and password. In order to befriend another child in Messenger Kids, a parent must also be friends with that child's parent on Facebook. The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app.

"Kids as young as 10 years old easily get 300 text messages a day from social media interactions; this is too stressful". We'll let you know when that Android version eventually launches, but for now, head down to the comments section and give us your take on Messenger Kids.

But kids can't sign up on their own.